Context: Overuse injuries are reported to account for nearly 50% of sports injuries and, due to their progressive nature and the uncertainty regarding date of onset, are difficult to define and categorize. Comparing the capture rates of overuse injuries between injury-surveillance systems and medical records can clarify completeness and determinants of how overuse injuries are represented in injury-surveillance data.
Objective: To estimate the capture rate of time-loss medical-attention overuse injuries in men's and women's soccer in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Injury Surveillance System (NCAA ISS) compared with medical records maintained by certified athletic trainers and assess the differences in completeness of capture and factors contributing to those differences.
Design: Capture-recapture study.
Setting: Fifteen NCAA institutions provided NCAA ISS and medical record data from men's and women's soccer programs from 2005-2006 through 2007-2008.
Patients or other participants: National Collegiate Athletic Association men's and women's soccer players.
Main outcome measure(s): Time-loss medical-attention overuse injuries were defined as injuries with an overuse mechanism of injury in the NCAA ISS or medical records. Capture rates were calculated as the proportion of total overuse injuries classified as having overuse mechanisms in the NCAA ISS and the NCAA ISS and medical records combined.
Results: The NCAA ISS captured 63.7% of the total estimated overuse mechanisms of injury in men's and women's soccer players. The estimated proportion of overuse injury mechanisms captured by both the NCAA ISS and medical records was 37.1%. The NCAA ISS captured more overuse injury mechanisms in men's soccer than in women's soccer (79.2% versus 45.0%, χ2 = 9.60; P = .002) athletes.
Conclusions: From 2005-2006 through 2007-2008, the NCAA ISS captured only two thirds of time-loss medical-attention overuse mechanisms of injury in men's and women's soccer players. Future researchers should consider supplementing injury-surveillance data with a clinical record review to capture the burden of these injuries.
Keywords: injury epidemiology; overuse injuries; quantitative methods.